From the Archives…(and one customer’s basement)

This bit of Tomato Head ephemera was brought to us by one of our longtime, regular customers Ellis Bacon (of the South’s Finest Chocolate Factory). What is it? What makes it so special?

It’s a one-of-a-kind Tomato Head pizza box, complete with grease stain.

Here’s the story.

Some of you may remember when The Tomato Head staffers had a bit more time on their hands than they do today. When a pizza or calzone was ordered to go, whoever was working the counter and register would decorate the box. The practice of decorating boxes started with black Sharpies and simply writing the customer’s name on the box, drawing a few characters, a cartoon or two. But really, why leave it at that?

It doesn’t hurt that many of the early Tomato Head employees were artists of some sort—painters, actors, designers, performance artists, sculptors, writers. (Actually, we’re lucky to still have a great number of artists on staff.) So what do you think this creative crew would do when a blank canvas came their way? From the Sharpie designs came the next stage–full-on collage.

As soon as the dining room magazines fell out of date they were fair fodder for the person who had some spare time. After work, or while waiting for the dining room to really pick up, staffers would cut and paste and create one-of-a-kind art for each box. Customers who ordered to-go regularly loved peeking around the corner of the counter to see which box they might get. Think of it as the pre-dinner fortune cookie of The Tomato Head world.

Since then, The Tomato Head hired local artists Kevin Bradley (who spun a pie or two in his day) and Julie Belcher of Yee-Haw Industries to design our to-go boxes, using the artwork of Bjorn Rune Lie. His work is also featured on the menu and the web site. So, due to time constraints (and all those @&#($*! scraps of magazine clippings) the restaurant moved to a permanent design but still employed artistic creativity for our boxes.

Do you have Tomato Head ephemera? Old pictures or your own favorite memory? Let us hear about it. We’d love to add it to the archives and maybe feature it on our blog or Facebook page.